Project Description

October 2013  – ‘Tjuntjuntjara Tjukurpa’

Tjuntjuntjara community is located 660 km east of Kalgoorlie, in the Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia – it is considered one of the most remote communities in Australia. The local people are known as ‘the Spinifex People’, who moved from their homelands (which range across the WA/ SA border) to Cundelee (160km east of Kalgoorlie) during British atomic testing at Maralinga in the 1950s and 1960’s – returning to their traditional country around Tjuntjuntjara in the mid 1980’s.

‘Tjuntjuntjara Tjukurpa was written, recorded and filmed over five days in partnership with Tjuntjuntjara Remote Community School in October 2013. The process involved close consultation with local elders, school students, staff and local community members.

‘Tjuntjuntjara Tjukurpa is Pitjantjatjara language for ‘Tjuntjuntjara Story’ and celebrates the continuation and vitality of the Pitjantjatjara culture across the region, with references to the local Emu Dreaming story.
The story is also a celebration of local young people, and the importance of school attendance, health, and everybody contributing to a strong and healthy community.

Special thanks to Charlie and Tilly Klein, and the Tjuntjuntjara Remote School.

We pay our respects to the Pitjantjatjara people – traditional owners of the country from which this story was told.

*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that photographs/videos may contain images of deceased persons, which may cause sadness or distress.


Stewart Baker Joe Walker Lee Brown Lydon Stevens Lesrin graham
Jermaine Felton Naomi Felton Tarlisha Currie Billy Felton Tanya Graham
Chiquinn Brooks Donna Mungee Justin Graham Phillip Currie Alisha Singer
Dwayne Lyons Rianna Hogan Roderick Stevens Elijah Davies
Lilly Davies Jarrod Currie Shirley Boogar Terrell Donegan
Shuana Goodwin


The deep red sun sets here in the west
Over the spinifex – roots of the spinifex
Walk through the saltbush – carve desert oak
The spirit of my country speaks through the fire smoke.

No spear, no more, shoot a rabbit with a gun.
Turkey take flight, hunter run, run, run.

Ngalya pitja kukaku (Come here for meat)
Come, come, come.
Tjungu ngalkuni, (Eating together)
Family, desert sun.

Oh, oh, oh, we’re the Pitjantjatjara people
Oh, oh, oh Anangu people
Oh, oh, oh kalaya tjukurpa (Emu Story)
Oh, oh, oh, now our spirit’s still strong

Ngalya — kuwarripa – warripuwa – inma inka
(Come quickly for singing and dancing)
Cheeky papa (dog) chasing us
Payapaya ngalya pakani (Chase the dogs away and get up)
We the Pitjantjatjara people – people of the Spinifex
We the best – in the west – tjukurpa (story) beat in my chest.

Good morning, I woke up today – quarter past 8, little bit late
Hungry! Missed the mai (food) – rumbling tummy to start the day!

School starts – time to read
Time to write – time to learn
Respect to earn – things to know
Plants to grow – places to go

We love life – this life we live
Plenty to give – plenty of fun.
Plenty of sun – space to run.
Karingki tjuta (everyone’s mad) everyone.
Come! Check it out – Pitjantjatjara hip-hop.

For all my family – my grandmother and my pop
Walk like an emu — dance like an expert
Sing my song, by the campfire in the red dirt.
Kulila kalaya tjukurpa wilurara Ilkurlka.
(Listen to the emu story west of Ilkurlka)
Pitjantjatjara Anangu – ninti pulka.
(Pitjantjatjara people – smart and strong)

Oh, oh, oh, we’re the Pitjantjatjara people
Oh, oh, oh Anangu people
Oh, oh, oh Kalaya Tjukurpa (Emu Story)
Oh, oh, oh, now our spirit’s still strong

Tjuntjuntjara Young People & Community — Co-Writers
Toby Finlayson – Director/ Co-Writer/ Cinematographer/ Editor
Joel Westlake — Composer / Music Director/ Co-Writer
Matt Ross — Blues Guitar
Roy Weiland — Motion Graphics/ Color Grading
David Nicholas — Audio Mixing